Thursday, 30 June 2016

Zlatan Joins Man United.

The worst kept secret in football has been confirmed. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has become the latest player to join Jose Mourinho's Man United revolution.

The fact that Ibrahimovic has announced that he will join United before the club speaks volumes about the player's character. Here is a man that exudes confidence in bucket loads and clearly likes to control his own destiny. Remind you of someone?

His persona and an air of grandeur do seem reminiscent of when a certain French master entered the Theatre of Dreams. And that is exactly what United need after a dreadful three seasons a leader of players akin to the Cantona effect in the nineties.

Exactly what will the Swede bring to the team during his one-year contract? Apart from the obvious excitement, flair and goals, it will be the undoubted experience of the 34-year-old that Mourinho will call upon especially when you bear in mind the young age of the forward line at United.

Imagine how the likes of Rashford and Martial felt when they heard the news. At last, here will be a player that will not only help them to improve on the pitch but also in training.

This is a cunning move by Mourinho and United one that will have the fans' pulses racing at the prospect of watching one of the most exciting players in the world and of course have the board rubbing their hands at the guarantee of increased profits from worldwide shirt sales.

A statement of intent has been made by the Red Devils one that will send a strong message to the rest of the Premier League and beyond and with the likelihood of more ins and outs during the transfer window the good times do seem to have returned to Old Trafford.

Time will tell if the Theatre of Dreams is large enough for two of the biggest egos in football but it will certainly be fun finding out.

Thanks for reading.

Miles Dunton.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Rise of Red Devil Rashford.

Manchester United have had a fabulous habit of introducing young raw talent onto the world stage, none more so than the new striking sensation Marcus Rashford.

The youngster from Wythenshawe, Manchester is one player who can hold his head up when he returns home from the Euro 2016 championship.

As the England squad left the home shores to make the very short journey across the Channel to France to embark on their European Championship adventure there was a young man who must have been pinching himself as he looked around him taking in the fact that he was among the elite chosen to represent his country at the highest level.

How the 18-year-old Rashford came to be sitting alongside the likes of United and England teammates Rooney and Smalling is a remarkable achievement in itself and the stuff of dreams.

He was plucked from the relative obscurity of the under 18's due to an injury to Anthony Martial in the match warm up as United prepared to play Midtjylland at Old Trafford in a Europa League tie. What followed that night is exactly why the stadium was given the moniker of The Theatre of Dreams and set the local lad on a journey that doesn't look like ending anytime soon.

Die hard United fans, of course, knew of his immense potential, but many would have been surprised by the way he took his chance with aplomb in a game in which he not only scored a debut double but in doing so cemented his hero status in front of an adoring Stretford End.

The teenager then followed that up with another double against Arsenal in his first Premier League match. A star was born and the confidence he showed in scoring the winning goal in the Manchester Derby was the shining light in a mediocre season for the team under Louis van Gaal.

Rashford ended his first remarkable season as a regular and capped it off with an FA Cup winners medal to boot. He was awarded for his efforts with a training session with the England squad which led to a first international cap against Australia in which it only took him four minutes to score yet another debut goal and in doing so became the youngest England player to score on his international senior debut.

The England manager Roy Hodgson had seen enough and Rashford had booked himself a passage to France. He made his debut at the Euros as a substitute against Wales becoming the youngest England player to play in the Championships beating captain Rooney by four days.

Unfortunately, for Rashford and the nation as a whole he was only called upon one more time and that was for the last five minutes in the shocking defeat to minnows Iceland. In the short time he spent on the pitch he performed considerably better than the other players had in the previous eighty-five minutes.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it is remarkable that Hodgson persevered with Sterling and Sturridge for so long during the tournament when they were clearly not up to the task. There will be many more international campaigns for Rashford in the future and let's hope he has learnt from his experience of being involved in a major championship.

New United manager Jose Mourinho must be licking his lips at the prospect of working with Rashford especially if he can bring in an experienced striker to help fine tune the youngster's undoubted talent.

The future looks bright for Rashford who has been rewarded for his progress at the club with a new improved contract that will keep him where he belongs for the next four years and hopefully beyond.

Many fans will be interested to see how next season will unfold for the teenager who doesn't seem to be short of confidence and approaches the game exactly how it should be by a United player. His ability, awareness, pace and an unnerving eye for goal should ensure that this shining light will not be diminished anytime soon.

If Rashford continues at the same pace he has the capacity to break many more records for both club and country and at his young age could end up making Rooney take a look over his shoulder.

Thanks for reading.

Miles Dunton.